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Russia censures Syria opposition for UN talks walkout

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian forces celebrate after they broke a siege in the northern town of Zahraa, on February 4, 2016. (AFP photo)

Russia has condemned Syrian opposition delegation for leaving the UN-brokered peace talks aimed at finding a political solution to ongoing conflict in Syria following government’s successful offensive in the Aleppo province.

Russia's ambassador in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin made the remarks during an interview with Reuters on Friday, adding that the delegation should have welcomed the government’s assault on terrorists. 

"Why did the opposition that left Geneva complain about the offensive in Aleppo, which is actually targeted against Jabhat al-Nusra and other radical extremist groups?" Borodavkin asked.

"Jabhat al-Nusra is a terrorist organization recognized by the UN Security Council. It's a branch of al-Qaeda. The opposition should be happy that terrorists are defeated. But, on the contrary, they were disappointed and left negotiations," he added.

The ambassador also condemned the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s decision to suspend the peace talks in Geneva on Wednesday as deeply regrettable, and urged him to be "more meticulous" about deciding whom to include.

The talks between delegates from the Syrian government and divided opposition were suspended only three days after their shaky start.

The Geneva negotiations were halted after the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a Saudi-backed anti-Damascus opposition group, failed to show up.

Borodavkin also said he hoped the next round could start before de Mistura's proposed date of February 25.

The nearly five-year long conflict in Syria has killed more than 260,000 people and forced millions from their homes since its onset in 2011.


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